Monday, September 23, 2019

"City of Beasts"

Corrie Wang owns and operates Jackrabbit Filly, a friendly neighborhood restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. She is passionate about libraries, recycling, and eating all the food, everywhere. Her debut novel, The Takedown, received much love from the New York Public Library and YALSA.

Wang applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, City of Beasts, and reported the following:
Alas, page 69 is not highly indicative of City of Beasts.

But first, a quick run down… City of Beasts is set in my hometown of Buffalo, NY. Albeit, a nuclear and environmentally crashed – yet plausible - future version of it. In this future, girls (fees) have grown up entirely separate from males (beasts) due to nightmarish events that happened after the world essentially broke.

The story centers around Glori, a fee who crosses into the city of beasts to rescue something invaluable, thereby encountering males for the first time in her life and smashing expectations all around. It is a thrill ride, dark yet funny, page turner of a novel, that takes a look at how we currently perceive gender and how we might if we were able to start with a clean slate.

Page 69, however, is one of the rare calm moments of the book. In this scene, Glori and her best friend Su, who joins her for part of her journey, are having their first ever meal with Sway and Comma, two of the beasts that Glori has stumbled upon who have agreed to help her on her quest. They are discussing how best to get back the item she seeks – spoiler, it’s Glori’s younger sibling – considering they don’t trust each other enough to even share a table.
Su leans back, arms crossed. “Sorry. I’m allergic to poison.”

Sway rolls his eyes and scoops porridge into his bowl. “Let me guess, Matricula Rhodes says that’s how we kill you. Fine. More for us. But please tell Madame Rhodes that if we were gonna poison you, we wouldn’t waste SpaghettiOs doing it.”

It’s just an offhand comment, still Su and I exchange a look. It goes unnoticed as the males fill their bowls. After clinking their spoons together, they begin inhaling their food with their mouths practically right to the edge of their dishes.

It is, quite frankly, gross.

“Learn some table manners,” Su grunts.

“What for?” Sway asks.
While this page might not be a prime example of the book, it is highly representative of my life because it’s all about food. Outside of being an author, I am also about to open a restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, called Jackrabbit Filly. It will serve heritage driven New Chinese American dishes that won’t be too far off what the characters in this scene eat.

Imagine that.
Visit Corrie Wang's website.

--Marshal Zeringue